2. Introduction to the Encomion of His Excellency Symeon the Metaphrast: The Very Model of Scholarly Sainthood

2.1. “The literary commemoration of the saints is the last chapter of the works that confirm the Gospel message” (3.10:220-222). [1] In these few words, Psellos illuminates the significance of hagiography in Byzantium and suggests the reason for the high regard enjoyed by Symeon the Metaphrast in Psellos’ own time and in later periods as well. [2] The ten-volume collection of 148 saints’ lives formed under Symeon’s direction in the late tenth century became an integral part of the Byzantine liturgy. The enduring interest in Symeon’s great work is apparent from the fact that some 850 manuscripts and fragments copied between the eleventh and eighteenth centuries preserve parts of it. [3] Because Psellos reasonably assumed that his audience of educated Byzantine readers would immediately recognize Symeon’s name and the nature of his literary achievement, a brief description of the Metaphrastic menologion will equip the modern reader of Psellos’ encomion with some approximation of a contemporary Byzantine reader’s frame of reference.
2.2. Psellos states that Symeon undertook his great project at the request of an unnamed emperor (3.14:331–333). Two other eleventh-century sources note that Symeon became known for his menologion ca. 980, early in the reign of Basil II (976–1025), [4] that is, approximately a century before Psellos composed Symeon’s encomion. Arranged chronologically beginning with the start of the ecclesiastical year in September, a menologion presents a narrative for each liturgical feast day to be read aloud during the service of orthros on the saint’s commemoration day. To assemble his unique and innovative collection, Symeon adopted and adapted existing narratives of the lives of martyrs and ascetics, correcting factual errors, applying proven rhetorical techniques to engage his audience, and rephrasing (or “metaphrasing”) the humble diction of the original texts at a uniform and elevated stylistic level. He replaced their simple sentence structures, colloquial vocabulary, and loose grammatical constructions with the polished “Attic” literary style cultivated by the Byzantine educational system and characteristic of classical and patristic literature. [5] As Psellos observes of Symeon, “He completely transforms the type of style without altering the substance [of the original], but he corrects what was amiss in its forms [of expression]; he does not invent the contents but he alters the manner of diction” (3.12:288–291). [6] His texts offered an alternative to older versions written in a style that seemed ridiculously rustic to Symeon’s learned contemporaries (3.9:184–186).
2.3. Symeon apparently did not complete the Metaphrastic menologion. The majority of its entries belong to the months between September and January, with the result that readings for the later part of the church year needed to be supplemented from other sources. John Xiphilinos completed such a supplement during the reign of Alexios I Komnenos (1081–1118), approximately a century after Symeon himself worked. [7]
2.4. A variety of evidence indicates that the Metaphrastic menologion rapidly gained currency both in Constantinople and beyond in the course of the eleventh century. Its provision of a hagiographic text—in some cases quite lengthy—to be read each day is particularly appropriate for the life of a monastic community. [8] In fact, the typikon of the Monastery of Euergetis (1054) specifically designates the Metaphrastic menologion as the source of each day’s reading during the early morning service of orthros; long readings could be divided into segments. [9] Also in the second half of the century, some thirty separate illustrated editions of the ten-volume set were produced for the wealthy, who perhaps intended to donate such a precious item to a monastery or church. [10] Palaeographical details and iconographical features of these deluxe menologia suggest that they were produced by scribes and illuminators connected with the imperial court. [11] Members of the intellectual elite in Constantinople can be identified as owners of copies (e.g. the founder of the Euergetis Monastery, Kyr Paul; the imperial official Eustathios Boilas, the historian Michael Attaleiates, et al.). [12] Moreover, the Metaphrastic menologion traveled far afield from the imperial court and elite of Constantinople. In the late eleventh century, the prolific translator Eprem Mtsire produced a Georgian version accompanied by an intriguing preface entitled “Brief Reminiscence on Symeon Logothetes and the Story of Those Responsible for the Translation of the Present Readings.” [13]
2.5. Psellos’ encomion is an important source for reconstructing Symeon’s biography, but by no means the only source. After 987 and before ca. 1007, Symeon’s close friend and confidant Nikephoros Ouranos composed a poem lamenting the death of the great hagiographer but providing little information about his life beyond the observation that the two shared unspecified troubles in life. [14] Eprem’s preface to the Georgian translation of the Metaphrastic menologion and a brief biographical note on Symeon by the fifteenth-century bishop and theologian Mark Eugenikos (ca. 1394–1445) also provide unique data, but it must be assessed carefully. Some anecdotes appear to be legendary, while other information may simply be incorrect. Because Symeon shared his name and some aspects of his career with several other prominent individuals of the tenth century, isolating details of his biography from theirs is a difficult task. [15] In the following account of Symeon’s career, I have adopted a minimalist approach, including only information generally accepted by modern scholars.
2.6. Symeon evidently attained prominence at the imperial court of Byzantium under several emperors of the mid-tenth century CE. Born to a wealthy family in Constantinople, he began his career at court as a secretary in the imperial chancery, perhaps under Romanos II (959–963), and eventually rose to the office of Logothetes tou Dromou (or ‘Chief of Imperial Communications’) [16] at some point during the reign of Nikephoros Phokas (963–969), of John Tzimiskes (969–976), or of Basil II (976–1025). By 975 he had also received the honorific title “Magister”; two seals of “Symeon Magister and Logothete” survive from the 970’s or 980’s. [17] At this point in his career Symeon complied with the imperial request to compose his menologion. For unknown reasons, he never completed this task. An intriguing and perhaps legendary tale preserved by the Georgian translator Eprem Mtsire claims that Basil II took great offense at a statement recorded in Symeon’s Life of Theoctiste (November 10) that the good fortune of Byzantium perished with the emperor Leo VI (886–912); reacting to this statement, Basil II dismissed Symeon in disgrace, stopped work on the Metaphrastic menologion, prohibited its public reading, and ordered all copies of it destroyed. [18] Sometime after the termination of his menologion project, Symeon died, perhaps spending the final years of his life as a monk. His death evidently occurred on November 28 sometime after 987, [19] when Nikephoros Ouranos returned to Constantinople and could have composed his poem lamenting the death of Symeon. Travelers and pilgrims visited Symeon’s grave in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries at the Church of the Virgin Hodegetria in Constantinople near the imperial palace. [20]
2.7. Psellos begins his encomion by sketching Symeon’s early career (3.1–3.7:1–155) and then turns his attention to Symeon’s great achievement, the menologion (3.7–3.15:156–375). He assesses the significance of the menologion at length and provides a unique description of the process that enabled Symeon to produce it. According to Psellos, Symeon dictated an oral version of a vita to scribes who recorded it in stenography, then passed the stenographic text to others who transcribed it and submitted the transcription to final redactors for correction against Symeon’s original dictation (3.14:333–341). Constrained by the magnitude of the project, Symeon apparently entrusted the final version of a text to these redactors, while he himself continued the massive task of composing each metaphrasis orally. [21] Modern scholars examining the metaphrastic lives have further refined Psellos’ description of Symeon’s methods. Of the 148 lives in the menologion, 120 conform to the pattern Psellos outlines. [22] In the case of the remaining lives, Symeon admitted some 14–18 texts into his collection without alteration, either because they were already written in an acceptably “Attic” style (e.g. Nov. 10, Life of Theoctiste by Niketas David Paphlagon) or because the existing old version enjoyed the status of a classic that could not be changed or improved (e.g. Jan. 17, Life of Antony by Athanasios of Alexandria). [23] Symeon also created eight new texts by combining two or more written and oral sources into something different from any one of them (e.g. Sept. 1, Symeon Stylites). [24] To each text in his collection, Symeon added his own preface composed in a standardized form. In these prefaces, Symeon emphasized the utility and pleasure to be gained by reading the heroic deeds of martyrs and ascetics but avoided any reference to himself or to his own times; occasionally, he inserted brief comments upon his sources. [25] Psellos specifically commends Symeon’s prologues as models of clarity, brevity and organization: “For the prologues to [Symeon’s] discourses straightaway engage with [their] subject matter, and he proceeds in short order to declare his intention for the work clearly …” (3.12:276–279). [26]
2.8. Although conceding that some hyper-sophisticated critics considered Symeon’s level of diction and literary style insufficiently learned (3.11:230–242), Psellos defends Symeon’s style as generally accessible (“Although he knows many levels of speech, he uses the [one] that suits both a scholarly and a general audience alike, and he satisfied both groups at once” 3.11:257–261) [27] and appropriate to his purpose: “I do not know anyone among them all who fit his type of style more exactly to the works he elected to compose” (3.12:270–271). [28] Rather wistfully, Psellos then contrasts Symeon’s appeal and influence as a writer with his own:
I, therefore, admire [Symeon] for the beauty and grace [of his language] no less than for the usefulness of his subject matter; although I have written many [works] on many [subjects], my writings would not stimulate [in others] such a desire to rival and imitate [them]. [My writings] will perhaps seem very desirable to men of letters, [who] will admire them because of their diction and their varied [rhetorical] figures. The majority of people, however, will scorn [my works] because [most people] do not have any interest in [philosophical] inquiries and inexpressibly [profound] thoughts.
3.13:322–329 [29]
2.9. Psellos’ Encomion of Symeon is indeed a work that would please even the most learned and rhetorically accomplished of Byzantine readers. His diction is “Attic” at a level of sophistication beyond that attained by Symeon, and his narrative includes learned allusions to classical literature, ancient civilization, and scientific topics. For a broad discussion of Psellos’ prose style, see “Introducing Michael Psellos” above (1.7). Although a translation into readable English cannot convey the full effect of Psellos’ complex sentences and elaborate “Attic” constructions, [30] various literary devices are apparent even in translation. The first two paragraphs of the encomion contain both similes and metaphors, feature frequent hyperbole, and conclude with an indirect reference to a historical figure.
2.10. An educated Byzantine reader attuned to the rhetorical tradition might well have recognized frequent allusions to popular rhetorical treatises in Psellos’ encomion. Psellos casually alludes to classical works like the anonymous Art of Rhetoric attributed to Dionysius of Halicarnassus and to the late antique texts standard in Byzantine rhetorical education written by Hermogenes and his successors; he also refers to the rhetorical commentaries of the relatively obscure eleventh-century author John Siceliotes. The format of the Encomion of Symeon Metaphrastes follows the pattern prescribed by standard rhetorical handbooks, first providing a prologue to set his subject in context, then systematically covering the topics recommended by ps.-Hermogenes [31] as appropriate for an encomion: the subject’s nationality and family, remarkable aspects of his birth, nurture and education (3.2–3.4), his noble character and his qualities of mind (3.5–3.6), the nature of his relationships with others (3.7), his career and notable achievements (3.6–3.7 and 3.9–3.15) and finally his death and any noteworthy events following upon it (3.16). Psellos moves skillfully among these topics traditional in an encomion, expanding his discussion of Symeon’s career and achievements to analyze the literary and stylistic features of his menologion and to detail the process of its composition.
2.11. The tone of Psellos’ narrative shifts from that of an encomiast to that of a hagiographer as he nears the close of his text, for Psellos attributes the qualities of Symeon’s holy subjects to Symeon himself: “He sets a martyr’s constancy and an ascetic’s endurance as two courses [of action] for himself and runs in both races not with the swiftness of his feet but with the agility of his thinking” (3.13:310–313). [32] Psellos then deems Symeon worthy of a heavenly reward, comparing his writings to those of authors
who exert their efforts in discoursing about the Gospel and who interpret the [profound] depths of the Word; their goals are the same, and they begin from similar [motives]. If the goal of their undertakings is in both cases the salvation of souls, how do their motivations not stand on equal [footing] one with another and [how would] their writings [not] be measured against the same standard or, to express my [view on the matter, how] will they [not] inherit equal [portions of glory]?”
3.15:359–365 [33]
2.12. In closing Psellos applies a topos of hagiography to his virtuous secular subject and describes Symeon’s joyful ascent to heaven at the conclusion of his life on earth, [34] noting the miraculous fragrance that suffused his gravesite [35] until it was desecrated by the intrusion of a second corpse (3.16). Psellos ends his encomion with a prayer to Symeon, treating his illustrious subject as a veritable saint before God:
[O Symeon,] whom I consider the best and most eloquent of men, this miracle of yours (i.e. the gravesite’s fragrance) reveals abundantly your purity and holiness after your other [accomplishments] brought [you] to utter perfection in virtue. May you be gracious unto me, if I have not accurately expressed your virtue in its entirety nor apportioned to you the praise and honor [flowing] from all your noble [traits]. Do not regard me in anger for what I have failed to mention, but may you hold me in memory for what I have written, if any memory of [those] here [on earth] exists for the purified souls in God’s image that belong to [those of] you [now in heaven].
3.16:383–392 [36]
Among the topoi of traditional hagiography is the closing invocation of a saint like that offered by Psellos. [37] Psellos’ prayer to Symeon concludes with the concern that his work may be an inadequate expression of Symeon’s great virtues; such a tone of self doubt is most uncharacteristic of Psellos’ literary persona, but completely consistent with the topos of modesty found in the epilogue to a saint’s life. [38]
2.13. Since Byzantium had no formal process of canonization until the thirteenth century, this encomion represents a practical step towards claiming the status of a saint for Symeon. [39] Psellos contributed further towards gaining recognition for Symeon as an Orthodox saint by composing for him an akolouthia, [40] a liturgical hymn to be used in celebrating a saint’s feast day.
2.14. Although neither Psellos’ encomion nor his akolouthia for Symeon can be dated even approximately within Psellos’ long career, his literary activities on behalf of Symeon coincide with the period of extraordinarily productive interest in the Metaphrastic menologion during the second half of the eleventh century. N. Ševčenko suggests that Psellos’ appreciative presentation of Symeon as a skillful literary stylist may have inspired the enthusiasm of elite circles in Constantinople for the illustrated Metaphrastic menologion, while Høgel wonders if Psellos received an imperial commission to compose his encomion for some unattested public celebration of Symeon’s work organized by an emperor. [41] These suggestions are not mutually exclusive, and I would like to add a third consideration that might have encouraged Psellos to compose his Encomion of Symeon.
2.15. Psellos apparently identified strongly with his subject. As already noted, he compared his own literary accomplishments with Symeon’s in the course of evaluating the prose style of the Metaphrastic menologion. Psellos also observes that Symeon possessed a rare gift for combining equal expertise in rhetoric and in philosophy (3.4:52–74), thus winning admiration and acceptance among both philosophers and rhetoricians. As already noted, Psellos’ encomion demonstrates that he, too, is adept at rhetoric; he also establishes his credentials as a philosopher by integrating vocabulary from classical—and especially from Neoplatonic—works of philosophy throughout his discussion of Symeon and his writings. [42]
2.16. Aspects of Psellos’ life and work resemble Symeon’s, for both gained fame for their secular activities as intellectuals closely connected with the imperial court, [43] but neither undertook the life of an ascetic nor embarked upon a career in the ecclesiastical hierarchy; however, both Psellos and Symeon may be associated with the monastic life during a period of disfavor at the imperial court. Although Psellos concentrated his literary efforts upon secular subjects, among his numerous and varied writings is an elaborate contribution to hagiography, the area of Symeon’s expertise. Psellos’ Life of St. Auxentios, a saint not included in the Metaphrastic menologion, is lengthy, rhetorically ambitious, and innovative in some historical details; in composing it, Psellos observed the techniques he commends in Symeon’s work. [44] Alexander Kazhdan has noted that Psellos adjusted aspects of Auxentios’ biography to resemble Psellos’ own circumstances. [45] Anthony Kaldellis has observed that in his Encomium for his Mother Psellos attempts to portray her as both a saint and a martyr, virtually canonizing her, and “effectively appropriates her sanctity for himself.” [46] It has recently been suggested that the anonymous Encomion of John the Baptist as well as four additional encomia of saints (Panteleemon, Kallinikos, Laurentios, and Prokopios) are also compositions by Psellos in emulation of Symeon’s achievement. [47]
2.17. As Høgel has remarked, the parallels between Symeon’s career and Psellos’ are numerous and significant. [48] Psellos claims particular familiarity with the emperors Constantine X Doukas (1059–1067), Romanos IV Diogenes (1068–1071), and Michael VII Doukas (1071–1078). [49] Did Psellos present this encomion to one of them with the hope of portraying himself as the new Symeon? [50] Is Psellos’ Encomion of Symeon part of an even more ambitious program to secure a place among the saints for a scholar and man of affairs like Symeon—and like Psellos himself?


[ back ] 1. τῶν συγκροτούντων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡ τῶν ἁγίων ἀνάγραπτος μνήμη κεφάλαιον τῶν ἄλλων καθέστηκε.
[ back ] 2. Modern scholars, however, typically fault the loss or suppression of authentic and more ancient texts in favor of Symeon’s homogenized and polished versions.
[ back ] 3. N. Ševčenko 1990:1.
[ back ] 4. Høgel 2002a:66–69. Høgel’s thorough and well-documented study examines in detail the topics of scholarly controversy surrounding Symeon’s life and the Metaphrastic menologion itself.
[ back ] 5. 3.12:280–295. For a description of the “Attic” style imposed upon older texts by Symeon, see I. Ševčenko 1981:298–303.
[ back ] 6. καὶ τὴν ὅλην ἰδέαν μετατυποῖ, οὐκ ἐναλλάττων τὴν ὕλην, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἡμαρτημένον τῶν εἰδῶν διορθούμενος, οὐδὲ καινοτομῶν τὰς ἐννοίας, ἀλλὰ τὸ τῆς λέξεως σχῆμα μετατιθείς·
[ back ] 7. N. Ševčenko 1990:6.
[ back ] 8. Høgel 2002a:224.
[ back ] 9. N. Ševčenko 1990:3–4.
[ back ] 10. N. Ševčenko 1990:204; Høgel 2003:224–226.
[ back ] 11. Høgel 2003:227.
[ back ] 12. N. Ševčenko 1990:4.
[ back ] 13. Cited by Høgel 2002a:69; for information on Eprem’s career and translations, see ODB s.v. “Ep’rem Mcire.”
[ back ] 14. Høgel 2002a:64–65.
[ back ] 15. ODB s.v. “Symeon Logothete.” Høgel 2002a:62–76 evaluates the medieval sources for Symeon’s career on and examines (76–87) biographical data that scholars sometimes assign to him on less than solid ground. More recently Wahlgren 2006:3–8 leaves open the question of whether Symeon Metaphrastes may be identified with the tenth-century chronicler known as Symeon Logothete.
[ back ] 16. Høgel 2002a:64–74. For a description of this important office, see ODB s.v. “Logothetes tou Dromou.”
[ back ] 17. Oikonomides 1973:323–325.
[ back ] 18. Høgel 2002a:69 and 128n4.
[ back ] 19. Symeon’s feast day was eventually transferred from November 28 to November 8. N. Ševčenko 1990:2.
[ back ] 20. Høgel 2002a:61, 72–73.
[ back ] 21. Høgel 2002a:93–94 interprets Psellos’ somewhat cryptic account of Symeon’s working methods; he revised his interpretation in Høgel 2003:222, as well as in Høgel 2002b:30 For a full discussion of this passage and its interpretation, see note 38 to the translation.
[ back ] 22. Høgel 2002a:96–102 compares several “metaphrased” texts with the older texts Symeon adapted.
[ back ] 23. Høgel 2002a:92–93.
[ back ] 24. Høgel 2002a:102–109.
[ back ] 25. Høgel 2002a:141–145.
[ back ] 26. τά τε γὰρ προοίμια τῶν λόγων αὐτῷ ἁπτόμενα εὐθὺς τοῦ ὑποκειμένου καὶ βραχύ τι προϊὼν τὸν τοῦ συγγράμματος ἀναφαίνει σκοπὸν καὶ τὴν πᾶσαν ἐπ’ ἐνίοις τῶν λόγων ὑπόθεσιν ….
[ back ] 27. φράσεως δὲ πολλοὺς μὲν ἠπίστατο τρόπους, κέχρηται δὲ τῷ ἀποχρῶντι πρὸς τήν τε τῶν σπουδαίων καὶ τῶν πολλῶν ἅμα ἀκρόασιν. καὶ ἤρκεσέ γε κατὰ ταὐτὸν ἀμφοτέροις τοῖς γένεσι.
[ back ] 28. ἀκριβεστέραν δὲ ἰδέαν οἷς εἵλετο συνθέσθαι συγγράμμασιν οὐκ οἶδα εἴ τις τῶν πάντων συνήρμοσεν.
[ back ] 29. ζηλῶ μὲν οὖν ἐγὼ τὸν ἄνδρα καὶ τῆς τοιαύτης εὐστομίας καὶ χάριτος, οὐδὲν δὲ ἧττον τῆς εὐχρηστίας τῶν ὑποθέσεων· εἰ γὰρ κἀμοὶ πολλὰ καὶ περὶ πολλῶν συγγέγραπται, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἂν ἔχοι τοιοῦτον ζῆλον καὶ μίμησιν τὰ σπουδάσματα. ἀλλὰ λογίοις μὲν ἴσως ἀνδράσι φανήσεται περισπούδαστα καὶ ζηλώσουσι ταῦτα διὰ τὴν λέξιν καὶ τὸν ποικίλον σχηματισμόν, καταφρονήσουσι δὲ οἱ πολλοί, ὅτι μὴ μέλον αὐτοῖς ζητημάτων καὶ ἐννοιῶν ἀπορρητοτέρων.
[ back ] 30. For example, the first paragraph of the encomion consists of twenty-nine lines and three sentences; I have broken it into two paragraphs and six sentences in the English translation.
[ back ] 31. Progymnasmata 7.15–16 ed. Rabe 1913; translation by Kennedy 2003:82.
[ back ] 32. δύο δὲ ταύτας ὁδοὺς αὑτῷ θέμενος, μαρτυρικὴν ἔνστασιν καὶ ἀσκητικὴν καρτερίαν,τρέχει μὲν ἐπ’ ἀμφοῖν τοῖν σταδίοιν οὐ μετὰ ποδῶν ὠκύτητος, ἀλλὰ μετὰ λογισμῶν ὀξύτητος.
[ back ] 33. τοῖς περὶ τὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου λόγον πονήσασι καὶ τὸ τοῦ λόγου βάθος διερμηνεύσασιν. ὧν γὰρ ἴσα τὰ τέλη, τούτων καὶ αἱ ἀρχαὶ παραπλήσιοι· καὶ εἰ σωτηρία ψυχῶν παρ’ ἀμφοῖν τὸ τέλος τῶν ὑποθέσεων, πῶς οὐχὶ καὶ τὰ αἴτια ἐν ἴσῳ καθεστήκει ἀλλήλοις καὶ οἱ συγγραφεῖς ἐπὶ τῆς αὐτῆς σταῖεν στάθμης ἤ, ἵνα τὸ ἡμέτερον εἴπω, τῶν ἴσων κληρονομήσουσι;
[ back ] 34. Høgel 2004:193.
[ back ] 35. The “odor of sanctity” frequently marks a saint’s blessed death and sanctified corpse; for a discussion of its significance, see Harvey 2006:220–228. A few examples will provide a context for Psellos’ application of the hagiographical topos here. “Stooping to look into the tomb, they saw the blessed woman lying intact, and smelled the fragrance that issued forth” (Laiou 1996:269); and “magnificent perfumes and incense … could not match the fragrance that issued from her skin … there they solemnly buried her, the corpse emitting the same, nay a much more wonderful fragrance” (Rosenquist 1986:110–111); and finally, “… as when someone sleeps happily and his face is illuminated from wondrous drowsiness, even to this time Basil is there illuminated with the same glory and emitting such sweetness of fragrance, lying intact and whole and totally uncorrupted …” (Sullivan 2014:677–678). I am grateful to Denis Sullivan for these citations. Further instances of this topos are available from the Dumbarton Oaks Database of Byzantine Hagiography under the word “euodia.” (http://www.doaks.org/research/byzantine/resources/hagiography-database)
[ back ] 36. τοῦτο μὲν δή σοι τὸ θαῦμα, κάλλιστέ μοι πάντων ἀνδρῶν καὶ ἐλλογιμώτατε, εἰς περιουσίαν ἐστὶν ἀποδείξεως τῆς σῆς καθαρότητός τε καὶ ἁγιότητος, ἐπεὶ καὶ τἆλλα ἀποχρῶντά σοι πρὸς τὴν τῆς ἀρετῆς ἀκριβεστάτην τελείωσιν. σὺ δέ μοι ἵλεως εἴης, εἰ μή σοι σύμπασαν διηκριβωσάμην τὴν ἀρετὴν μηδ’ ἐκ πάντων τῶν σῶν καλῶν συνεμέτρησά σοι τὴν εὐφημίαν. καὶ μή με, οἷς ἐλλέλοιπα, δι’ ὀργῆς ἔχοις, ἀλλ’, οἷς συγγέγραφα, διὰ μνήμης ἄγοις, εἴ τίς ἐστι μνήμη τῶν ἐνταῦθα ταῖς καθαρωτέραις ὑμῶν καὶ θεοειδέσι ψυχαῖς.
[ back ] 37. Pratsch 2005:351–353.
[ back ] 38. For a general discussion of the topos of modesty, see Pratsch 2005:341–342.
[ back ] 39. At the time of Psellos, saints were not officially canonized but rather informally recognized through various popular manifestations of devotion: veneration of their gravesites and relics, prayers offered to them, liturgical commemoration of their feast days, creation of a biography celebrating their holy deeds and miracles, and/or incorporation of their images on icons and in churches. See ODB s.v. “Canonization.”
[ back ] 40. Greek text, Poema 23, ed. Westerink 1992:277–283.
[ back ] 41. N. Ševčenko 1990:4 and Høgel 2002a:156.
[ back ] 42. For Psellos as a rhetorician, see “Introducing Michael Psellos” (1.7) and for a discussion of Psellos as a philosopher, see “Introducing Michael Psellos” (1.9).
[ back ] 43. For details of Psellos career, see above “Introducing Michael Psellos” (1.5).
[ back ] 44. Text published in Fisher 1994:1–94. For a discussion of the rhetorical aspects of this work, see Fisher 2006.
[ back ] 45. Kazhdan 1983:546–556; discussed by Høgel 2004:192–193.
[ back ] 46. Kaldellis 2006:30 and 33–34.
[ back ] 47. Papaioannou 2013:50n79.
[ back ] 48. Høgel 2004:193.
[ back ] 49. ODB s.v. “Psellos, Michael.”
[ back ] 50. I am indebted to Stratis Papaioannou for this stimulating suggestion.